Monday, March 24, 2008

Things To Fill That Hole Left By The Wire

1) Finish that novel. That dim light at the end of the tunnel? That's the end!

2) Get back on track with Fables, easy to do with covers like this:

I've liked James Jean, who does nearly all the Fables covers, for a long time. I think he'd be perfect to do the cover for The Book of Elizabeth. You can see more upcoming Jean/Fables goodness here and here. You can check out his website too.

3. Start thinking about that next novel! That dark tunnel ahead? That's the start!

4. Listen to lots and lots of Kathleen Edwards.

5. Get out of town. Chicago in three weeks...

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Somewhere... Beyond The Sea

Just like Jupiter's moon of Europa, Saturn's moon of Titan likely has an underground ocean. Given how much Titan already resemles primordial earth, this is a huge revelation, and bodes well for the prospect at least of some kind of life.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Anthony Minghella RIP

The director of The English Patient, The Talented Mr. Ripley, Truly, Madly, Deeply among other wonderful films, has died at 54.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The View From Mars

The Earth and the moon, as seen from Mars:

Also, they're not wasting any time planning a trip to Alpha Centauri, where scientists now believe Earth-like planets reside.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

I Wear My Sunglasses At Night

Endeavour lifts at 1:28 A.M. local time. Other space goodies:

Scientists have found a once-habitable lake on Mars.

And maybe coolest of all, Alpha Centauri, the nearest star to the sun, the same size, age and color as the sun, may have its own earth.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

On The Wire

The last episode of The Wire aired tonight on HBO. I don't know how much I've mentioned the show before here on the blog, but I have loved it since the beginning and I agree wholeheartedly with the notion many have that it is the greatest TV show ever. You hear this kind of thing a lot. "It's the best ever." I say it a lot. About all kinds of things. The truth is, The Wire is the best TV show ever, because of its depth, its subtlety, its five year examination of a single American city, Baltimore, that stands now, and may for all time, as a living document of 21st century American society. In its five years, the show tackled a different aspect of the city with each new season, from the corners to the docks, the schools to city hall, and finally to the news room. I enjoyed the way they integrated the paper into the storyline, but it could have been a show itself; if the show had one failing this year, it was not maximizing this plotline.

The Baltimore Sun which creator/writer David Simon worked for and based some elements of the show on, seems to think so. They also agree with me that the Season 3 ending, when it really seemed it was the end, was perfect and tonight does not do better by it. Tonight's episode was excellent, but Season 3 was pitch perfect, deserving of the laudatory praise the show gets. Tonight seemed to be conscious of 'the Dickensian aspect' of the show. The series does feel like a Dickens novel at times, with Dickens-like characters - Prop Joe - but in its subtlety and complexity I felt it was more like Chekov. In any case, it is great American literature and proof that the energy that once lived in theater, then fiction, then film, now resides mainly in long form television. The Wire is a novel on TV, a five year movie, a docudrama, all of them combined.

Anything this great attracts criticism as much praise and click on the link above to catch a jaw-dropping take down of the show and Simon from his former employer. There is absolutely no objectivity in the piece, and to watch it devolve from a earnest review to a personal attack only reinforces the irony surrounding the entire subject of dispute. The Sun feels unfairly represented by Simon, think the negative aspects he chose to highlight in the show diminish the paper and here, in the actual paper, is an embarassing, shameful act of shabby journalism.

Here's a more fair (if positive) review. I will miss The Wire, but thank God for DVD. The greatest thing that can be said about art like this is that it makes you want to make such art yourself, to push yourself to reach for that level.

The New York Times on the finale.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

'My Eye! My Burning, Beautiful Eye!'

SPOILER WARNING (If you have not read Buffy Season 8 #12 - Ben - DO NOT READ)

So. Wow. Where to start. Um, how about with the begining:

I picked up my issue of Buffy Season 8 #12 today, expecting no less than my monthly dose of amazing and this month doubled down.

No shit wow.

So that's Buffy there on the right. And that's another girl on the left. So this is a big deal. So I'm saying so a lot. First off, the New York Times has a big article on the event. Joss Whedon talks there and also at Newsarama which is a much longer and interesting interview.

I believe Whedon when he says it's not a stunt. Buffy has never been about stunts, or 'this week, on very special episode of Blossom...'. And this series has moved the landscape enough through its sheer existence to not require any gimmick to draw readers to it (any Buffy die-hards put off by the comic, and there are some, will certainly not come back for this). Joss says its an evolution of the character, except she's not gay. So why is she..?

ABC News wonders aloud if it's a stunt/gimmick/etc. and let me explain why it's not and why I think this has been coming for a long time. First off, Buffy is not gay. She will not become gay. This is clearly history repeating itself: Buffy voids her loneliness with the nearest available option, good or bad, and apparently now, male or female. It stands to reason Buffy would entertain such thoughts - she's young, 24 at the most I think - and surrounded by dozens of hot young women. She's hopelessly lonely. Her isolation deepens with age. And it's been a while - Great Muppety Odin, it's been a while - so I'm not surprised by this at all. Especially since this has been coming more or less since Season 3.

Buffy's relationship with Faith - prior to the break-up - was coded at various times as romantic. Buffy and Faith were not lovers, but there was a gay reading there (if you were so inclined). A season later Willow reveals she's gay. Faith's closeness with Buffy clearly left Willow sore (to this day) and in retrospect, it seems more than Willow simply being left out. She's jealous. There's nothing to suggest Willow ever felt for Buffy that way, but in issue #12, it's Willow's reaction that answers the question of why do this now. Willow has the same sore reaction to Buffy/Satsu that she did Buffy/Faith and I think Willow can handle Buffy with someone else so long as they're not a woman. That's too much of a threat. Willow loves Buffy (she risked everything - and lost it - to bring Buffy back from the dead) and now with this incident, the earth is going to open up big. I think a lot of buried things are going to come to the surface. Just a few issues ago, Willow explained she couldn't share her self with Buffy because everything Buffy touches comes apart. With Willow, Buffy can only ever be destructive; Willow can never reconcile her feelings.

Damn. It's a whole month before the next issue...

Wednesday, March 05, 2008


One of NASA's many robotic probes caught this amazing image of an avalanhce of ice and dust at Mars northern pole. One wonders if this isn't something that happens with every spring thaw there. Here on earth, snow and ice continue to bombard us. Somedays it feels like Stalingrad in World War II or something. It's neverending. Every once in a while it warms up to 40 or 50 and then immediately after that we're slammed with rain, snow, or both. It wears you down. I woke up this morning to yet another snow shower and realized it's affecting my mood. I cannot wait for spring, to be back on the bike. Every day feels longer and longer than the last.

Anyways, it's Wednesday, which means a new issue of Buffy. I shall be delivered yet.